United By Pop received a free copy of Alexandra Bracken’s Wayfarer in exchange for an honest review, all opinions are our own.
Author: Alexandra Bracken
Overall rating: 5/5
Great for: Fans of Outlander and anyone who loves time travel adventures and well-researched historical fiction
Themes: Diversity, romance, young adult, time travel, historical fiction, family dynamics
Review: This is the second instalment in the Passenger series and is as emotional and sentimental, yet as electrifying and enchanting as the first book.
This contains the tangled stories and twisted histories of the youngest generation of the existing time travelling families. Diverse and disparate as these characters are, they all have a common cause: to relocate the missing astrolobe. This artefact will allow the owner dominion over history’s course and, if passed into the wrong hands, could see Earth transgressed from its existing and correct timeline.
The characters each travel to a multitude of eras and infamous historical figures, battles and placed are all mentioned over the course of the novel. The sheer volume of information imparted is breathtaking and yet Bracken’s lyrical and melodic style of writing carries the readers along the course of the narrative with an ease and grace that belies the density of the plot. The setting was constantly shifting and yet I never felt confused or like I could not conjure each setting in my mind.
I also appreciate that this wasn’t just a straight-forward fantasy, or historical fiction, or romance and could not be labelled as any one genre. It brings the best of all of these and amalgamates them into something fresh and exciting.
There was a satirical edge to this novel that went far deeper than just straight up dystopia. The author dealt with themes such as sexism, racism, religion and culture with a grace and knowledge. She bellied any anger I could conjure concerning any individual character’s prejudice on a topic by having that character suffer some deserved fate or allowing another to intervene and give them an, equally as well-deserved, piece of his/her mind.
This book, as well as being an enjoyable piece of literature in its own right, is also an important one. It gives POC, LGBTQIA+ and females a voice, when in history they typically did not have one. It tackles their oppression head on, allowing humanity no excuses for its abhorrent treatment of others of our species. It might not literally rewrite history as some of the characters are doing, but it goes some way towards rectifying the omission of some of these characters from our history books by giving them a home, and a voice, in fiction.